MIAMI COUNTY — A crowd of more than 200 attended to the Leadership Troy Alumni’s Meet the Candidates night Wednesday at Troy Junior High School to hear from local politicians vying for their vote .
Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper fielded questions regarding the district’s 1.1-mill permanent improvement levy.
Capital improvement levy funds may only be used to maintain, repair, or improve district facilities or equipment. It may not be used for salaries, benefits or to pay other operational costs.
The levy, originally passed in 1984, generates approximately $700,000 per year for the district’s upkeep of its facilities. The levy renewal costs the homeowner of a $100,000 home approximately $32.28 annually, according to district officials. The renewal will not increase taxes.
Piper said being new to the district, he’s had a chance to tour all of the schools building ranging from the 45-year-old junior high to the more than 100-year-old Van Cleve Sixth Grade building.
“I’ve seen the care and pride that goes into maintaining them,” said Piper, noting the stewardship of the district’s administration before him and the work of the school board. “Don’t let appearances fool you. I know the buildings look very pretty from the street, but they are very old and they do require maintenance.”
Piper fielded a question about the future of new buildings within the district, when they will be needed and why. Piper said the district is continuing the discussion and gathering input from the community on its next step following the failed bond issue last November.
“I think facility needs are certainly a top priority for the district. The board is continuing to talk about a bond issue and when that may come down. As people probably know, one failed last November so we are talking about that. We don’t have a timeline for that or a plan to come forward yet as a result of the last vote. It’s a certainly a big need for the district, but that doen’t change the fact that we need this renewal for these permanent improvement dollars to continue to take care of our facilities,” Piper said.
State and U.S. House contested races
Candidates for the Ohio Senate 5th District and Ohio House of Representatives 80th district provided their input regarding State Issue I and how they plan to personally vote.
Dr. Stephen Huffman said he plans to vote “No” on Issue 1.
“My brother and sister are judges. They need to do judicial discretion to make decisions … it’s the last thing a judge wants to do is put someone in jail, but if you don’t have that power to do it, they’re just going to stick their nose up at the judge and continue to do what they do,” Huffman said.
Huffman gave an example of a person in possession of 19 grams of fentanyl — which could be fatal to thousands of people — would unlikely be incarcerated as a drug dealer. “To me if you can kill 10,000 people, you are a drug dealer and so that’s the reason I’m going to vote no on Issue 1.”
Paul Bradley, Democrat candidate for Ohio Senate 5th District, plans to vote “Yes.”
“I think I do have some concerns with Issue 1. I do wish we had a process in place through our legislative body that had taken care of these issues instead of bringing this to a vote of a ballot measure. I think when we talk about Issue 1 and some of the good things that do take place, when it comes to substance abuse and types of treatment for people, I think those are things worth supporting. I do think this is an issue that should have been taken up by the legislature and unfortunately now it’s up to the citizens to make a decision on it.”
Ohio House of Representatives 80th District Democratic candidate D.J. Byrnes also plans to vote “Yes.”
“I voted yes on Issue 1. At the end of the day these laws are enforced — they are racist, they are racially enforced. We spend more money than anyone else. We are the most incarcerated state in the country. It’s not perfect. But the idea of somebody getting arrested for 19 grams of fentanyl and get off scott free is ludicrous. They are going to be arrested for drug trafficking, they are going to prison for drug trafficking and that’s the bottom line,” Byrnes said.
Ohio House of Representatives 80th District Republican candidate Jena Powell plans to vote “No.”
“It is a really poor thing for our state and our community as a whole. We already have a raging opioid epidemic and this is not a good thing for our state,” Powell said.
Current U.S. House of Representatives Warren Davidson and Democratic candidate Vanessa Enoch answered a variety of questions related to national issues including immigration, term limits and what their opinion was on the most important issue facing the nation.
The media panel asked the U.S. House of Representatives candidates if they promise not to vote to cut or reduce Social Security or Medicare as part of program budget cuts.
“I definitely would pledge not to cut those programs,” Enoch said. “I think people forget that these are programs we pay into, we’ve earned the right to collect Social Security. This is a specific attack on our seniors, the most vulnerable population. I think rather than cutting some of those necessary programs, we need to look at some of those wasteful programs and cutting things such as things that have been proposed that are not necessary for people’s livelihood.”
U.S. House of Representatives 8th District Rep.Warren Davidson said he also is against cutting Social Security and Medicare for current seniors.
“I think that would be a horrible thing. The government mandated that you buy this product — frankly, it’s not a very good product — but the government has told everybody to buy it. They collect money from you your entire life. It’s completely immoral to renege on that promise. Having said that, people currently in elementary school for example, if we had done this when I was in kindergarten when we knew we had a problem, ever since I’ve been a kid, we’ve known these programs aren’t funded adequately. We can change things for people who are young and have a high functioning program for our current seniors.”